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Case Management Week Spotlight: Stories from 3 Case Managers on the GHR & Meleeo Teams

October 30, 2023

In honor of Case Management Week, we’re putting the spotlight on some exceptional individuals from our GHR RevCycle and Meleeo teams.

Join us as we sit down with Shanika, Patricia, and Kathryn, experienced case managers who share their insights, challenges, and deep-seated passions for their field. Their stories serve as a testament to the dedication and skills required to excel in case management, a role that plays a pivotal part in ensuring patients receive the care they need.

So, let’s dive into the world of case management and take a moment to celebrate the professionals who make it all possible!

Q: Case management is a dynamic and impactful career path. Could you share what inspired you to pursue a career in case management and the journey that led you to become a dedicated case manager with Meleeo?

A: I have always been motivated by helping others reach their goals. As a nurse, I have been able to help individuals achieve a healthy state of being, which is important in life. Nursing was a gateway to case management for me, and it allowed me to help patients on a larger scale.

A person’s health goes beyond just their body it includes their environment. It’s not always what’s physically wrong with a person but their circumstances that can drive their wellbeing. We not only aid with patient’s acute needs, but we seek out resources for more permanent solutions to their underlying issues.

Case management aims to ensure the safest discharge back to the community post-hospitalization, making continuity of care of extreme importance. We are the link, the bridge, between the hospital and the next level of care the patient needs when returning to their community. Having a desire to indulge deeper in case management led me to Meleeo. As a travel case manager, I have been exposed to different hospital systems, patient populations, and case management processes. I will be able to use all the opportunities that Meleeo has provided me with and continue to help patients every and anywhere I go.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in case management, especially in terms of the dedication and skills required to excel in this field?

A: The first component of becoming a successful case manager is flexibility. Being able to manage inpatient utilization and organizing outpatient arrangements at the same time can be overwhelming. Additionally, empathy, compassion, organization, critical thinking, and communication skills are also essential in this specialty.

Q: In your experience, how has the role of a case manager evolved over the years, and what trends do you see shaping the future of inpatient care coordination?

A: The last 14 years in this field have shown me that change will always be constant in case management. The focus has shifted from mainly utilization payments to emphasis on a more interdisciplinary approach. As the economy changes, social determinants are more impactful to medical care.

The interdisciplinary approach allows case managers to be effective in appropriate care coordination by including necessary direct patient care information. In addition, with the implementation of AI, certain tasks have been automated– which in turn has allowed case managers to dedicate more time to each individual and their unique circumstances.

Q: As we celebrate Case Management Week, we’d love to know something fun about you outside of your professional life. Can you share a hobby or interest that brings joy to your days when you’re not coordinating care?

A: When I am not wearing my case manager hat, I am exploring the new city Meleeo has led me to. Each city has its own unique charm and I indulge in experiencing it. I am also very family-oriented and plan trips to go back home to spend time with family whenever possible.

Q: If case management had an official mascot, what animal or character do you think would best represent the profession, and why?

A: If I had to choose a mascot for case management, it would be an owl. In folklore, the Owl usually represents wisdom and knowledge. As case managers, we are the core of the interdisciplinary team. We review every aspect of the medical chart and discuss each area with all disciplines. By understanding every part of healthcare, we are better suited to coordinate, problem-solve, plan, and organize care for our patients and/or caregivers.

Q: Case management is a dynamic and impactful career path. Could you share what inspired you to pursue a career in case management and the journey that led you to become a dedicated case manager with Meleeo?

A: I went into case management because I felt it was a field of nursing that I could use my nursing knowledge to make a difference in people’s lives that did not require me to be on my feet 12 hours a day. Since going into case management, I have grown as a nurse and a person. I enjoy working with each patient individually to find out what they need. Every day I go to work there are different people with different situations and needs. I enjoy the challenge of it and love it when there are new challenges to work out.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in case management, especially in terms of the dedication and skills required to excel in this field?

A: I highly recommend that if someone is considering a career in case management they shadow someone that is currently working in case management. Many people think that case management is a “cushy” job where you just sit behind a desk all day, but it is so much more. I have had my best and worst days as a case manager.

To be an effective case manager you need to be good at communicating and collaborating with other members of the care team, the patient, and their support system to help develop an optimal/safe discharge plan for the patient. You need to be able to think outside the box and sometimes be creative in utilizing community resources to make this happen.

It can be quite stressful, with multiple things going on at the same time and plans changing constantly. However, it is highly rewarding when everything falls into place. The patient gets to go home from the hospital with what they need to be successful, and it is because of what you were able to do to make it all happen

Q: As we celebrate Case Management Week, we’d love to know something fun about you outside of your professional life. Can you share a hobby or interest that brings joy to your days when you’re not coordinating care?

A: I enjoy relaxing at home with my family. We watch television shows and movies together and play video games. I also enjoy working on diamond art.

Q: If case management had an official mascot, what animal or character do you think would best represent the profession, and why?

A: The dolphin. They collaborate as a team to solve problems and are very good at communication. These are two traits that are very important to case management.

Q: Case management is a dynamic and impactful career path. Could you share what inspired you to pursue a career in case management and the journey that led you to become a dedicated case manager with Meleeo?

A: I’ve been an RN Case Manager since 2003. My journey into case management began when I had to leave my job as an ER nurse, a role I’d held since 1981, due to an injury. Thankfully, the facility I worked at offered me a position as a case manager, which allowed me to continue in the healthcare field.

Over the years, I worked as an RN case manager, including a stint in utilization review, and then I retired. However, retirement didn’t last long. I wanted to travel and seek new opportunities. So, throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of managing teams and building strong relationships with travelers. So, I got in touch with my former director, who referred me to Melissa at GHR. Last July, I connected with GHR, and my experience since then has been nothing short of amazing. Melissa, my GHR recruiter, has been incredibly supportive, responsive, and respectful.

Currently, I work on the tele unit as a short-term case manager. I believe that being friendly and approachable is a big asset in this line of work. I genuinely enjoy meeting new people, and I’ve even made some great friends during my career. I extended my stay here because I enjoyed it so much. The company culture is good, and they truly appreciate us. That’s often a concern for travelers, but it’s been a fantastic experience.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in case management, especially in terms of the dedication and skills required to excel in this field?

A: In case management, there are many opportunities, and they’re all a little different. Be flexible because things change, discharge plans change, and laws change. You need to be willing to adapt along the way. With the American Case Management Association (ACMA), you have access to a lot of education, videos, and studies. Staying committed to continuous education is essential. ACMA provides many resources, including educational materials, videos, studies, and articles.

Even if you don’t have Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to complete, staying informed is vital. Participating in ACMA’s regional groups’ monthly education webinars can be highly beneficial. There are numerous opportunities out there if you actively seek them. Remember, keeping up with education benefits not only you but also your patients and your organization.

Case management used to be a career people pursued when they were ready to retire, but it’s not that way anymore. It can be a very challenging job, whether you’re a social worker or an RN, but it’s a rewarding path.

Q: As we celebrate Case Management Week, we’d love to know something fun about you outside of your professional life. Can you share a hobby or interest that brings joy to your days when you’re not coordinating care?

A: Well, when I made the move to Arizona from the Midwest, I ended up taking on the role of commander at the local American Legion post. It was a bit of a surprise for me to discover that there’s quite a ranching community here. Over at the Legion, I got to know quite a few cowboys, and one day, they dared me to ride a mechanical pony while sporting a cowboy hat. It was definitely a memorable experience.

I also take pride in my service in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, and that’s always been a meaningful part of my life. Supporting veterans in our community and advocating for them whenever I can is something I hold close to my heart.

My husband and I decided to make the move to Arizona in pursuit of career opportunities. He’s retired now and has been adjusting to my travel schedule. He keeps busy with part-time work, doing maintenance at a resort. We manage to carve out about 3 or 4 days each month to spend together.

We’re parents to four adult children and have two beloved dogs. While my husband’s passion lies with his dogs, my passion lies with the Green Bay Packers. I have this childlike enthusiasm for them and dress up in Packers gear without fail.

It’s quite the sight since my entire family are die-hard Bears fans, so I really stand out. Originally, I’m from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so the Packers have been my team from the get-go.

Thank you, Shanika, Patricia, and Kathryn for sharing some of your stories and for everything you and your fellow Case Managers do for patients and for the healthcare industry— Happy Case Management Week!

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